In many speeches and interviews leading up to his presidency, then-Senator Barack Obama regularly used the death toll resulting from America’s Middle East engagements as a campaign talking point. Why does that matter? Because the president’s campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt accused Romney of making a “political attack” as America was “confronting the tragic death of one of our diplomatic officers in Libya.”
Consider Obama’s past Op Ed for the New York Times:
“I believed it was a grave mistake to allow ourselves to be distracted from the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban by invading a country that posed no imminent threat and had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. Since then, more than 4,000 Americans have died”
Senator Barack Obama
July 14, 2008
And his speech on Iraq in March of 2008 :
“Nearly four thousand Americans have given their lives. Thousands more have been wounded.”
Candidate Obama even brought the death toll up in the 2008 presidential debates:
Wednesday was a different story, however. The President severely criticized Mitt Romney for attacking the Obama administration’s response to the attacks. The media was right behind.
Pundits called Romney’s criticism of the President in the aftermath of the attack “craven” and a “Lehman moment,” alluding to Senator John McCain’s fumbled handling of the collapse of Lehman Brothers. MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell berated a Romney spokesperson over the politicizing of American deaths, asking bluntly: ”Does it seem to be injecting politics into a national tragedy?”
FoxNews has hit back, writing on their website:
“This was an effort — not entirely conscious — to make it illegitimate for Romney to criticize the president’s foreign policy at a moment when foreign policy has suddenly taken center stage. But that’s exactly when such a debate should take place — because it’s when the public will actually pay attention.”
The point, particularly given the Presidents own double standard, is a good one.